17 Year Old Daughter Always over at Her Boyfriend's House

Updated on January 06, 2018
N.H. asks from Palmyra, PA
17 answers

So my 17 year old daughter is a senior in high school, straight A student, 4.02 GPA, has part time job, car which she bought with her own money, pays her car insurance and her portion of the cell phone bill.

My concern is this, she has a boyfriend who is a sophomore and she is constantly over at his house. I always make sure she does her chores and her homework is done before she goes but it seems she spends more time with him and his family (two parent household) having dinner there, going to church with them, she even tried to ditch me for Christmas day to spend it with his family. So I made a Christmas brunch and had his whole family over to our house. I adore her boyfriend and she knows that, I've taken them both out for dinner, ice cream etc so it's not like I have not tried to be involved there. But it feels like she has discarded her real family (which admitedley is just me as I am a single mother and have raised her alone with an absentee father since she was two). We've always been so close and I've prided myself on our relationship and that she tells me everything. I know she'll be soon going off to college and I soon will not be there to enforce rules and make sure she is taking care of herself.

This whole situation bothers me on many levels, one being that she has no life outside of this boy. She is involved with school activities and work but other then that, she is with him all the time. Ocassionally she'll do something with a friend if the boyfriend is busy. Two being that she seems to be a little too dependent on him for her happiness, I want her to have a life outside of this boy. Three being that it feels like I have become the discarded ragdoll which she no longer needs or wants.

She gets so engrossed with these relationships with these boys and seems to push all of her other relationships to the side, ie friends..family etc. She has been over at his house everyday this week so far and plans to have movie night with his family Friday. I like his family but I don't want to have to spend all of my time with them just to be with my daughter. I feel like I barely see her anymore and we are just roomates.

I know a lot of this is typical behavior but how much is too much? Is she too old for me to lay down the hammer and put the breaks on this or do I just try to accept it? Any advice would be much appreciated.

I miss my daughter.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

To answer another moms question, she has been in counseling and meds for the past 6 months and will continue to do so.

More Answers

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like it's time for YOU to find someone or something besides your daughter to fill your time. At this age she already has one foot out the door, by summer she will be working (I assume) and spending all her spare time with her guy before going off to college.
This is what kids do, they leave the nest.
Time for you to come to terms with that and start looking for ways to fill that gap!

6 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Paragraphs are your friend and make it MUCH easier to follow your post. FYI

Your daughter sounds like she is a good child who has been capable of managing her studies and responsibilities of working and paying for a car and expenses.

It sounds like her boyfriend is from a good stable family. I would not be driving a wedge between them.

She is at the age where she s ready to go to college to be on her own and you can't do anything about the rules when she is gone. You have to trust that you taught her well and it sounds like you did a good job, mom!!

Another thing.. from experience.. my now 23 years old daughter and I went through a tough spot around he Senior year and when she moved out for college. Thankfully that was short lived and I think a lot of parents go through this when children are on the verge of moving out and being on their own. They are anxious to get out and be an adult and we as moms as not so ready for that move so it takes a bit to get a balance.

As soon as we got her moved into her condo that we purchased for her during college things turned around. She lives about 20 minutes from me but we talk daily and see each other a couple times a week. I see and talk to her more now than I did that last year of high school. She is my rock, my best friend and has been by my side since my husband suddenly passed away in 2015.

Please don't feel like you are discarded.... we all go through those feelings at one time or another. She'll be back.

I would not be "laying down a hammer" and fighting this fight. Be patient with her and be there for her. Be her #1 supporter even if you feel she is not supportive of you.

6 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I do think it is typical-normal for some teens. My almost 16 year old has a boyfriend, and she is much the same as your daughter. For a long time I tried lecturing, nagging, encouraging, and doing whatever I could to support her spending more time with girlfriends and independent interests of hers. It bothers me a lot to see so little balance in her life. But the more I tried to control her finding a healthy balance, the more she just got angry with me and pulled away. On some level, she really does know she is missing out on closer friendships with girls, etc. but she has to figure this out on her own. It isn't something I can control, how she prioritizes her relationships with other people, I mean. I've decided to let go on that. My daughter's boyfriend is very nice. He's a good student, not into substances or anything harmful. She spends a lot of time with his family. They are good, generous and kind people who treat her very well. So I am happy that they are in her life. If your daughter didn't have a boyfriend, it would be pretty typical for her to be out spending all the same amount of her free time with friends. If you're missing her, I think you have to plan some one-on-one time, something on a regular schedule, just for the two of you that you can look forward to.

6 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

Just about everything you said perfectly describes some of the girls I knew in high school and college. This is a time in their lives when it is very normal (healthy, even) for them to begin to define their lives as outside of their family. When many begin to think of their friends and boyfriends/girlfriends as their family. I remember the tv show "Friends" being described as that period of your life when your friends ARE your family. It's not a slide on your family or anything. It's just very normal for someone in their late teens or early 20's to view their relationships that way.

None of this has anything to do with you. It's really important that you trust that. She's not rejecting you, even though it feels like she is. She's just on the verge of becoming an independent adult, and it's time for her to spread her wings and fly.

Rather than laying "down the hammer and put the breaks," why not just approach her with that knowledge. Tell her that you are so proud of the beautiful person she has become and is becoming. Praise her and tell her the great things about her that you see. Let her know that you feel this time slipping away, and that you'd like to have spend some time with her, just the two of you. Maybe you could have some Mother/Daughter time once a week or once every two weeks or whatever. But let her know now that you would like to have that time before she graduates and goes off to college.

I understand what you mean about you wanting her to have friends besides the boyfriend. I knew some girls in college that had some friends "on the hook" for those rare times that the boyfriend was busy. Sometimes it worked out, and sometimes the friends let the friendship slide because they felt like they were playing second fiddle. I think this is a learning experience and you have to let her learn about friendships on her. You can encourage, but you have to let her make her own mistakes and learn in her own way.

Sounds like you've raised a pretty amazing girl!

5 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.6.

answers from New York on

Ahhhhh - this sounds SO familiar :) Why young love requires them to be glued at the hip, I will never know, but it must be some kind of requirement for them to spend every available waking minute together (and when apart, apparently text, snapchat, and instagram each other constantly). If her grades have remained stable and she isn't skipping work to spend time with him, then I guess I wouldn't worry too much.

We had certain times that our kids HAD to be involved with family (and that meant without the boyfriend/girlfriend), but not many. You could try a "date night" with just the two of you, one night a week (or lunch on the weekend if that worked better). Make it sort of mandatory (but let her have a say in the date/time each week) as a time to catch up, check in, and have family time. Explain to her that this is a "good mom" deal and if she can acquiesce to this one weekly promise of time, you won't bug her about all the time she is spending with her boyfriend.

This is a great opportunity for you to work on what your relationship will look like post-high school so just keep those lines of communication open and you will be fine. Also, the whole "chicks before dicks" (sorry, that's the line my girls used) really came more in college when you realize that throwing your best girlfriend over for a boy you might break up with in a week is a bad idea.

One final thought - put your daughter on birth control if she isn't already. It would be foolish to assume they are not already having sex, and unless you feel like raising another child is in yours and her best interest, then make sure that is on the top of the list to take care of.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Tell her you miss her and see if you can set up a night or two each week that are for the two of you alone. You already know all this behavior is normal, even the getting lost in the relationship, we all did it as teens until we got older, our brains finished developing and we learned how to better balance the different parts of our lives.

3 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

Z.B.

answers from Toledo on

Totally normal. She's becoming an adult, making her own decisions, started her own life apart from her mom. It's normal for her to want to spend time with her boyfriend and to neglect her other friendships. But she has to learn that lesson in her own way.

It's also completely normal for you NOT to like this. At least to a degree. You're beginning to lose your baby to adulthood, and that can't be a fun thought.

Let her know that you realize she's becoming and adult and that you want this for her. But also let her know that she is your daughter always and forever and that you will really miss it when she no longer lives with you. Tell her that your time under the same roof is precious, and you'd like to spend some time with her (just her). Maybe you could agree to a few things - dinner once a week, an outing once a month. Whatever works for both of you, but let her know that your time together is short, and you really want to make the most of it. Also, let her know that she isn't doing anything wrong. She isn't. You just want to enjoy spending time with her, too.

3 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

I'm concerned that she is spending so much time with a much younger boy, so there's probably a significant maturity difference (unless he's exceptionally mature for his age). And of course I'm concerned about supervision - and I truly hope you have had multiple, in-depth conversations with her about sex, pregnancy, and STIs.

I'm not concerned that she's pulling away from you - although I AM concerned that your emotional health is so wrapped up in her time. Read Gidget's answer - again. Your daughter SHOULD be pulling away as she gets ready to leave the nest. Her increased independence is what you should want to see, as a sign of her healthy individual sense of self and her ability to function on her own. Once she goes to college, you don't want her to be a mess because she's away from her mom - you want her strong, resilient, and competent. It's really misguided to put her in the position of having to care for your emotional health. Think of the mama bird who literally kicks her offspring out of the nest - it's part of good parenting. In fact, her desire to be with his family (church, Christmas, etc.) may be precisely because you are coming off to her as needy and clingy.

Your daughter may be looking for companionship from a male, since she has no father in her life. She may also be choosing a younger boy, knowing that she will be leaving him to go to college, where their interests will diverge intensely. As long as your daughter doesn't get pregnant, and unless there's more than you have written here, I doubt this relationship will last into next year. Since he's young, it may be easy for her to manage this relationship and be the stronger, dominant one. That could be a good thing, a good coping skill.

I disagree that she has no life beyond this boy - she has her studies, her activities and her job, and apparently none of them are suffering. The only thing she's really giving up is you - and I know that hurts. But it has to be. And again, it may be because you are trying too hard, trying to take them both to dinner and for ice cream, to pal around as a threesome. She's trying to move beyond that. It may also be her defense mechanism against missing you next year.

Please let her know how proud you are of her and all that she has accomplished, and do continue to invite the boy for dinner now and then, being the most welcoming and amusing mom you can be. Don't criticize her for not doing things with other friends - she's going to be leaving them, and they're going to be leaving her, soon enough.

Please stop with terms like "discarded ragdoll" and so on. I guarantee you that your daughter may trot off on the college campus with a wave and a "Go home already, Mom" attitude, but she WILL miss you and the comforts of home. While I think you are deluding yourself that she "tells you everything," I believe you are setting things up so she tells you nothing. How about a compromise? Let her come to you for counsel and to share some things, but stop insisting that you share everything. It's not normal for a young woman to be best friends with her mother, and you are wrong to encourage that. She must be able to survive on her own, and so must you. Please develop other interests and stop putting so much emphasis on enforcing every rule you can think of, lest you drive her away. Start being more confident in what you have already done to nurture a smart, active, hardworking kid, and start making the break now.

3 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

Congratulations on raising a responsible gal who is managing her life pretty well and chooses good companions! The deep involvement with the boyfriend seems pretty normal, even if it looks alarming to you from the vantage point of an adult.

The main thing I hear in your post is that you want some one-on-one time with your daughter. Perhaps you and she can create a weekly two-hour get-together for these remaining months that she is living at home with you? Remind her that she soon will be off at college and this is your opportunity to spend time together rounding out this phase of life. It doesn't have to be heavy heart-to-heart conversations or expensive--maybe bowling, going window-shopping, having coffee together, walking in the park, going to an art show or concert,... whatever gives you time together. Good luck with the transition!

ETA: B raises some good points that it isn't ideal for either your daughter OR the boy to be so wrapped up in their relationship at the expense of their other friendships. It would be worth checking whether the boy's parents feel similarly and if so, the three of you can form a united front to encourage them to spend some time with other friends. However, that course of action depends on other people (the boy's parents) doing something. Your main concern seems to be a desire for more time with your daughter, and that's the piece of the equation which you CAN control.

3 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.G.

answers from Portland on

I just looked back at your previous questions - and noticed she had some depression/anxiety in your last post that she was having trouble dealing with - must have been just before this relationship started. So that's pretty telling. If she has thrown herself into this relationship then she may be avoiding some issues and that's not good.

I see two issues.

One is - she's too involved in a relationship I think personally, at this age. Surprised the parents of the boy don't feel this way also. I did this but a little older, in college. I regret it - but hey, hindsight's a wonderful thing ... if I could do it over, I'd have focussed on myself, my friends, building MY future, not playing wife/husband at some ridiculously young age. I don't personally think it's healthy. Would I have listened to my mother? No. I didn't. I didn't want to. I was going through 'stuff' probably like your daughter is.

You've mentioned absentee dad in a few posts. So .. maybe she's attaching herself to a guy. Maybe she's attaching herself to a 'family' (full family with a dad). Who knows. Has she been to counseling? Maybe she'd see a therapist? Just thinking out loud here. Was the depression/anxiety fully addressed? What happened there?

The other issue I see is - you need to address YOUR issue of what to do on your own so you are fulfilled. You can't put your happiness on your daughter. I don't think you are terribly - sounds like you are more concerned for her than for yourself (so that's good). However, just make sure you're not putting out that needy vibe - that's such a turnoff to teenagers (and anyone). So make sure you have enough to do. Get involved in some new hobbies, go see some movies, join a new gym, etc. and invite her along. If you took up a new Zumba class (I'm sure that's not the latest - but I'm not up on these things) and invited her to join you one night a week - maybe she would. Or a paint-nite class once a month. Get back into doing fun things.

Added: One thing that did sink in (a bit later) was when my mom told me I deserved more. She kept that theme up throughout my late teens and early twenties, and eventually it did sink in and that's when I finally wizened up. She just basically meant - keep my opportunities open, be good to myself, don't limit myself .. it sunk in. It was better than her harping on me or saying 'no'. She just kept saying I was great really. If your mom thinks you're all that - it's pretty awesome. You mentioned your daughter had a really bad breakup at 16 - so if she's suctioned cupped herself to this guy, maybe she felt unlovable or something.

Building her self confidence up could be the answer. I think seeing a counsellor for a few sessions would be really helpful if she'd be receptive. If she's supposed to as a follow up to the depression/anxiety - then you could approach it that way.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.H.

answers from Abilene on

My daughter graduated this past May and joined the Navy. She graduated boot camp, A-school and now another specialized school.

Her senior year I wanted her to have as much freedom as possible. I felt like it was better for her to start being mostly responsible for herself. We had rules about calling when she arrived where she was and keeping us updated on plans, but she spent a lot more time with friends than us. I would be more worried if she hadn’t. You have to know in your heart you’ve laid an incredible foundation. Now it’s tome for her to stand on it.

I won’t lie, it’s been a bit of a dance to figure out this transition. If I’m completely honest, I’m still finding my way. What I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is I raised her to be a strong, independent person. Now she’s proving I met my goal. Sometimes it’s hard, but I am grateful she’s confident and not calling me telling me she’s homesick and made a mistake by joining. Although sometimes I wish she missed us more. 😉

Although it feels like she doesn’t value you as much, she does. She understands she’s about to embark on a different path and if she’s honest, it’s scary and exciting.

Be there for her. I told my daughter when I missed her. I would say, I need some time with you, I miss your beautiful face. She would always giggle and make time for me.

This is a weird and wonderful time. Know the time for you “laying down the hammer” is over with the exception of something serious like drugs, alcohol, etc.

Tell her you’re proud of her. Let her know it’s completely normal to be excited and nervous about the future. Tell her you’ll always be in her corner.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hmmm, my kids aren't this age, so I openly admit that I don't have personal experience with this. But, I think if it were me, I would not try to lay down the hammer or put the brakes on. I think that will only cause resentment.

I think that teens don't think of their relationship with their parents as something that needs to be maintained. I know I didn't. Please try not to take it personally.

Maybe it's my frame of mind today, but I'm actually going to give a similar piece of advice I gave the teen who posted on here today. It sounds like you miss your daughter. Instead of trying to approach this in a negative way or blame the boyfriend, can you set up a standing date with your daughter? Tell her that you miss her, look at your and her schedules, and set aside some consistent time to spend together - Saturday brunch or Sunday morning breakfast before church. When you talk to her about it, don't bring up the boyfriend at all. You don't want to make her feel like this is a punishment. It's not.

2 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

i'm sorry you're feeling left out. that has to be hard as a single mother.

but i sure hope you get a grip on this, and i mean your own emotions.

putting the brakes on the relationship because you feel lonely is exactly the right way to alienate your responsible, well-behaved young adult and make the bf even more desirable.

she's young and in love, and seemingly with a nice boy. your problems could be way worse than missing her company.

you must have forgotten how incredible and all-consuming young love is. if she were neglecting her studies or refusing to do her chores or not paying for the stuff she's agreed to pay for or any other worrisome issues my answer might be different.

but you've got a good thing going here, which credits you greatly. please don't faff it up.

having his family over for Christmas brunch was brilliant of you.

stay in that lane.
khairete
S.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.K.

answers from Miami on

I think it is part of becoming an adult and the novelty of having a boyfriend, hormones, etc., that she wants her world to revolve around him. She is excited about college and her boyfriend, and feeling grown up. As others mentioned, once people mature and experience more than one relationship, they realize how important it is to NOT lose themselves in that relationship and how to balance their time. As you said, she is growing up and will soon be off to college, so even then, your interactions will be brief, and limited to mostly long distance calls, with the occasional visit during the holidays. What I CAN guarantee, however, is that she will NOT be spending any of those visits with you if you try to "lay down the hammer." It is going to push her away.

Let her have her independence for now. She will be back, as others said. Let her know she can call you at any time, about anything (what outfit to wear on a date, what to do about the professor that is a drag, what to do about the nasty roommate), and yes, offer some days to talk on Skype and if she is in town, for a lunch date together, but don't nag her about it, just put the ball in her court and leave it there.

One thing that does concern me -- it sounds like you're hurt that she is spending so much time with him, which again, at her age, is normal. Since she will be going to college and all, you know your time together is going to be cut short drastically, so see this as a test run for what it will be like while she is in college. Develop friendships and hobbies of your own, so you DON'T feel tossed aside, like you said, or lonely. Active people with some semblance of a social life, are happy, those that sit at home dwelling are not. Yelling at her or making things tense will only be worse for you if she goes off to college and feels she needs to cut herself off from you because you're trying to take away her independence.

Considering she is getting good grades, is in a committed relationship with a nice, decent guy and she is working and showing responsibility and independence is great and you should feel proud that she is so mature and focused, at such a young age. Kudos, mom! Do realize that she will eventually move out and have her own life, probably once she has graduated college, so things won't be the same as they were when she was a child living under your roof, unless she is planning to move back in with you due to financial constraints but even then, it more than likely won't be a permanent living arrangement. It sounds like you're having trouble adjusting to that and need to work on the fact that your little girl is growing up and will not be as dependent on you. I know it's hard, but you got this.

1 mom found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

your daughter needs help. A senior girl really shouldn't be dating a sophomore boy, in my opinion. that's an issue for me. Unless he's REALLY mature for his age? She's ready to go off to college and he's got 2 more years...it will lead to issues when she goes off to college...

**YOU** need to attend counseling with your daughter so you can communicate with her.
She might not want to be around you. That's the hard part. You're on her like white on rice and she's escaping you. Sorry.

My 17 year senior who has a scholarship for Wesleyan University has a 17 year old girlfriend, they spent equal amounts of time at each others houses....

She's not too old for you to lay down the law, but she's 17 and feels she knows everything.

As long as she is under your roof? She needs to obey your rules.

1 mom found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I'm kind of surprised the boys parents are allowing her over that much.
There is such a thing as wearing out your welcome.
Also - I wouldn't want my 10th grade son over dosing on one relationship - he needs other friends in addition to a girlfriend and should be concentrating on school.
Your daughter graduates this year - what are they going to do when she goes to college?

No laying down any hammer - but I would talk to the boys parents without the kids and talk about your concerns.
You want them to have a life balance - with their future and goals in mind.
And if it turns out to be true love - then in 10 yrs time when they've finished getting their education, have careers, are earning money, they'll have a lovely wedding and have a bright future together till-death-do-they-part.

I get it.
I was a high school senior when I met my future husband who was a freshman.
We went to different colleges - dated when we could - did a LOT of letters (this was in the 80's) and phone calls - saw other people - had our separate circles of friends - we got our degrees, got jobs, got an apartment when we got engaged, got married a year later, bought a house, traveled a bit, had our son just before our 10th wedding anniversary - and we've been married 28 years now.

Right now - your girl needs to BE a senior - worrying about college applications and where she will be living this coming August - and I really think living an hour or two away in a dorm would be good for her.
The 10th grade boy needs to BE a 10 grade boy - working on his grades, worrying about SATs/ACTs, joining clubs at school - enjoying his remaining years in high school and preparing for his future college plans.

They can certainly keep seeing each other - but a few times per week is plenty - and more than that is taking away from the life they need for a full rounded out high school experience.
You're only a kid once - they've got a long time to be adults in the proper time.
That time is not now.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.S.

answers from Denver on

I can relate. My daughter is 17 as well. I was just thinking that I am so ready for Christmas break to be over because I didn't like it at all- she was gone all the time!

I do agree that this is normal for her age, and is typical of what happens when they get in a new relationship. I suppose it's meant to prepare us for when they leave for college. I'm sure it prepares them as well.

I disagree with those who say you are the one who needs to change something. I've been told the same thing when I've had a concern about my daughter- that I need to find something to do with my time and I'm just being clingy. I don't agree with that. Obviously we don't want to be over-reliant on our kids for company. But concerns about their behavior or how they spend time are still valid, they still need us to parent them.

I think with your daughter, you shouldn't try to convince her it's too much with this boy- she is programmed to dig in (they all are!). Do have conversations with her that explain that she needs to know she is okay by herself- that having a guy is just gravy, but if things didn't work out she would be fine (assuring her you like the guy of course). Just good to have that seed planted.

Then tell her that you'd like to see more of him over at your house- what would they like to do? Games? Movies? Dinner? Make sure you have stuff at your house that they would like to do. And that they can have a little space if that's what is keeping her from being there.

Finally, I love the idea of just telling her when you have plans for her. "We're going out to dinner on Wednesday," "We're seeing a chick flick this day" etc. Even just taking a walk or grocery shopping together. Just make some plans with her instead of saying she can't be with him. This is such a tough time! Tougher than I thought it would be. Good luck to you!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

More Questions About